The brutal torture of a special needs young man in Chicago was viewed more than 16,000 times and shared multiple times after it was posted to Facebook Live and streamed, seemingly uninterrupted, for 30 minutes. Now the social media giant is refusing to answer questions about how they could have left the video up for so long before recognizing it and removing it from the site.
British newspaper The Guardian attempted to get answers from someone at Mark Zuckerberg's media giant recntly, but to no avail. They asked questions related to how the video could have been left up for so long, drawn so much attention and garnered a huge number of horrified comments without Facebook being alerted to the nature of the video.
“I find it really hard to believe that not enough people reported it,” Reem Suleiman of SumOfUs, a civil rights group that’s been campaigning for Facebook to be more transparent about its content takedown process, told The Guardian.
“I don’t want to speculate here, but we’ve had issues ourselves trying to get certain things taken down in the past,” she added.
Facebook did release a statement in which they condemned the video and pointed to its community standards for content removal and reporting.
“We do not allow people to celebrate or glorify crimes on Facebook and have removed the original video for this reason. In many instances, though, when people share this type of content, they are doing so to condemn violence or raise awareness about it. In that case, the video would be allowed," the statement read.
The Guardian claims that the incident raises further claims about the responsibility of Facebook and other media giants to police their content, something Facebook in particular was caught up in during the recent U.S. election and the "fake news" that was alleged to have influenced it.
Facebook isn't always so slow to remove or curate their content. They were the subject of criticism by conservative groups in May because they were accused of suppressing conservative stories from their "trending stories" section. They ultimately invited conservatives to visit their compound in Menlo Park, Calif., to smooth relations.
The company announced a plan after the 2016 election to use fact-checkers to stop the spread of erroneous content on their site.
Now, in light of the brutal torture video in which four people have been arrested and charged with hate crimes, it looks like they'll have to make some changes to how they deal with news that is very, very real.